My Top Travel Tips
The holidays are upon us. If you’re like me, and you are going to be traveling to other people’s homes for the holidays, here are my top tips for being the most prepared and least stressed while traveling.
Calling ahead before travel
Primarily, I have to prioritize calling ahead. It’s absolutely essential to know the lay of the land. For instance, if you are staying at a hotel, check for handicapped rooms.
Confirm what kind of showers are available. This is important because not all handicapped rooms have walk-in showers. Communicate your specific needs to the hotel; accessible does not mean the same thing to everyone.
Knowing what to expect
Also, if I am going to someone’s home who I do not know, I call ahead. I always ask if there is a step, if the main portion of the home is downstairs, whether I should bring a ramp, or if they have plywood on hand I can use to create a makeshift ramp.
These are all important steps to making sure I have easy access to where I’m staying. As for family, they are typically pretty attentive and already aware of my needs.
Next up, is hygiene. Depending on the type of shower available where I’m going, I bring a camping chair; it’s portable and easy to pack. And, for those with a disability, airlines check it for free. If you fly with it, tell the airline employees it is for medical purposes, and they have to let you fly with it!
And guys, I’ve been to places with just a tub, and have to wash my hair in the kitchen sink. This is not my favorite method to get clean, but if I know this is what I am working with ahead of time, I can at least prepare adequately and bring towels to lay my head on.
Tips for packing
When it comes to packing, I have a few pointers. I used to be bad about packing, like overpacking. But now I've gotten more efficient at bringing solely what I need.
This is essential for you to avoid the hassle of having to unload your luggage because you’ve exceeded the weight limit. We’ve all been there.
Obviously, a wheelchair charger is non-negotiable. I try to frame my mindset that way when packing; there is not necessarily a reason to overpack and overthink it, but rather just bringing what you need is the best-case scenario.
The logistics around traveling with a disability
When I know I’m not going to be in my normal environment, I try to pack clothes that are going to be simple to put on for whoever will be helping me. For instance, sweats, cute, comfy clothes, etc. The alternative could be trying to get jeans on when I may not have a place to get them on.
All in all, it’s important to think about the logistics of traveling with a disability. If this is a newer experience for you, be patient with yourself.
Give yourself the grace to learn the ropes of how to advocate for yourself and prepare ahead of time. Sometimes, you don’t know what you need until you do not have it. Get that out of the way, and then you can have fun!
Is self advocacy a part of your daily life?